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    Love in Action – Papua New Guinea

    Posted on February 8, 2012 by Paul | 14 Comments | Jump to Comments Box Below

    When I travel to lead worship in places other than my home church, I feel privileged to meet people who tell me amazing life stories about God changing their lives.  Occasionally, I hear an extraordinary story, one that moves me to tears.

    Not too long ago, I was in Edmonton, Canada, at the Breakforth conference.  After a songwriting session, a young woman came up to me and showed me some beautiful photos from Papua New Guinea.  She had been involved in medical work in several villages.  She told me how singing and songwriting had become an integral part of activities the villagers were involved in.  Then, a few days later, she emailed me the story behind the story….

    Dear Mr. Baloche,

    I realized that I didn’t explain the story about the child with the painted face.

     

    The child with the painted face’s name is David, but it wasn’t that originally. He actually didn’t really have a name. See, he was born with Cerebral Palsy, and couldn’t move his limbs and doesn’t know how to talk. When his mother had him, the village thought he was born that way because he was cursed, and wanted to drown him in the river to lift the curse. His mother refused to kill him. She was the second of her husband’s three wives and was cast out of the family because they were afraid all their children would be cursed because of her act of defiance against the spirits.

    So she was cast out of the village, and had to care for herself and her son across one of the rivers in a very small hut. No one would speak to her or interact with her, and when we arrived at the village they warned us not to cross the river because they thought we would be cursed too if we helped her.  It’s sadly not an uncommon occurrence.

    So I ignored the villager’s protests and concerns and traveled across the river to see what I could do for her. When I arrived, even she was afraid to let me see her son because she believed he was cursed as well. When I convinced her it would be okay for me to see him and discovered he had CP and there was nothing I could do to cure him, I spent some time talking to his mother about her situation. The little boy was so helpless and small, and I was so proud of her for choosing to take care of him despite what she lost. She clearly loved him, but it was obviously hard for her.

    I told her – and the other curious villagers starting to arrive to see if I’d be cursed – about how it was a medical condition, not a curse, that made him the way he was, as well as how it doesn’t mean he is stupid or unable to learn. You could tell just by looking into his eyes that he knew exactly what was going on. It was hard to convince them all though. They kept getting upset and insisting that even if it wasn’t a curse he was still useless and just took food and water they had so little of to begin with. They said it would be better for him to die to save the rest of the village even just one more meal. If you knew how little food they have you’d understand that this kind of thinking really isn’t as callous and terrible as it sounds. It broke my heart to see their desperation and to look into that beautiful face and into his mother’s tearful eyes and not know how to explain the value of this precious child to God’s eyes and plans.

    So I did what I always seem to do when I’m at a loss for words. I started singing.

    “Open the Eyes of My Heart” was the only song that came to me on the spot, so I sang it as I exercised his limbs… and then, the next thing I knew, he was singing along in harmony. He couldn’t say the words, but he hit every note. The whole village stared in amazement. He had the sweetest little voice. And his eyes were so incredibly bright.

    So I kept singing with him, song after song… and in the end it saved his life. It’s amazing what God chooses to use. I couldn’t do anything medically, but a simple song convinced the entire village that this boy was special. They were all touched by his singing, and I talked to them for hours about how God loves him and every single one of them, and He gave this boy this beautiful gift.

    Now that little boy and his mother live in the center of the village, a place of honor, and he helps with patients. I somehow got the idea that when I was treating people who were in a lot of pain or were frightened that he could sing to them to keep them calm… and it worked.  They call on him for everything, and he sings all the time now. He always looks so determined and so happy when someone asks if he can sing for them.

    His mother gladly carries him all over the village, and though he’s still learning how to speak, he can answer most questions with different signals. That’s when we named him David. Everyone said he needed a good name, a special name. So I told them about the warrior king David, and how he would write music and sing songs. His mother had become a Christian, and I believe that he believes in Jesus too. When I told him the story he kept signaling “yes” over and over, so we named him David, to remind him that he’s a prince in God’s kingdom, and that his songs are very special to God as well.

    I have so many stories where music was able to do what I couldn’t, and I hope it really encourages you, Paul, that God is using your music to all purposes, not just here in North America, but even in faraway places. :)

     

    14 Comments
    Beatrice Davis 08/02/12

    Absolutely beautiful story……I was watching a video clip last night about a blind boy with Autism and he was singing a christian song at a conference. I used to work with people with intellectual disabilities, and remembered the different gifts they all had that maybe other people overlooked due to their disability, and was thinking about how God has a plan and a purpose for everyone…….no-one is overlooked by Him.

    Angela 08/02/12

    Hi Paul, I enjoyed reading this post LOVE IN ACTION – PNG. The pictures are priceless. My husband and I live on a tiny island in Asia. We have been so blessed by your worship songs as well. God’s anointing is in your songs … and we can’t help but feel so touched by God whenever we sing or listen to them.

    Rebecca Pratt 09/02/12

    That is such a beautiful story Paul. Thanks for sharing. We love seeing the impact of your songs in Africa too. So many are blessed through your music.

    Dee 09/02/12

    What a beautiful story… and how awesome is the God we have the privilege of serving…

    Tine Simanjuntak 09/02/12

    Thank you so much! This really encourages me. I have some students with CP in my class and I can see how God really love each of them. I believe God will open the eyes of their hearts to see how good God is!

    Sarah Lois 09/02/12

    Amazing~!! Praise the Lord for His people going the distance to reflect His love for all mankind! :)

    Scott Harrison 09/02/12

    You should blog more often Paul. Great story of courage and faith. Thank you for sharing.

    DL 09/02/12

    wow…what an amazing story of God’s power, grace and wisdom! i’m so moved by this! praise God for your ministry and life…and praise God for how others are living the call of Christ!

    Sharon 09/02/12

    What an amazing story! There is such power in worship music! Thank you for your God given talent!

    Laurie 10/02/12

    I sat in silence for awhile after reading this, it will be a distraction throughout my day and in days to come (in a good way). Thanks for sharing Paul, stories like this remind me this is what it’s all about and continue to pull me in a certain direction :) .

    Marty Lewis 12/02/12

    Paul, just prepping for worship in the morning and somehow ended up on the story of this little boy. Wow! Wrecked me! Incredible how God works through someone that is willing to show up and make a joyful noise :) There’s hope for me!

    Oscar 14/02/12

    Wow! That’s all I can say. How amazing is it that I’m reading this story about Love on Valentines day??

    Cristal Paniagua 14/02/12

    Amazing! that story moves hearts to praise and praise to The Lord. His Grace and Favor shine like the sun and are present everywhere.

    Natalie 19/02/12

    I am a worship leader in San Antonio and just bawled my eyes out reading that amazing story. Wow. What an incredible reminder to me. So blessed to have read that!

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